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Football

Jubilant Owen hits first Real goal


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Owen is hugged by Ronaldo after scoring his first goal for Real Madrid

MADRID, Spain -- Michael Owen scored his first goal for Real Madrid on Tuesday to lead the nine-times European champion to an edgy win over Dynamo Kiev 1-0 in Group B of the Champions League.

The England striker slid in to convert a Ronaldo cross from close-range in the 35th minute at a rainswept Bernabeu and open his account following a close-season move from Liverpool.

"It's a great feeling to finally score," said Owen. "I couldn't have picked a better time."

He added: "I was asked to work the flanks because Ronaldo likes to work around the box so it's funny my first goal turned out to be from the opposite way around."

Real Madrid coach Mariano Garcia Remon paid tribute to Owen, but made it clear that the England striker was still not guaranteed a place in the starting line-up.

"I was very happy with Michael's performance," Garcia Remon said at a post-match news conference. "What I wanted was mobility up front and he responded very well indeed. He's improving all the time and has a great attitude.

"Of course we want everyone to play but sometimes even great players have to stay on the bench. Overall, though, I was delighted with his performance."

Dynamo were unlucky to lose an exciting match which was full of goal chances and were only thwarted by poor shooting and several fine saves by Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Despite the victory, which was achieved without the injured David Beckham, Madrid stayed in third place in the standings behind Dynamo and Bayer Leverkusen. Leverkusen beat AS Roma 3-1 in the other group match.

After three rounds of games, Dynamo have six points, above Leverkusen and Madrid on goal difference. Roma are still without a point.

Nine-man Roma

Bayer Leverkusen rallied to beat AS Roma 3-1 Tuesday in a Champions League match that saw the Italian team reduced to nine men.

Francesco Totti scored for Roma before Leverkusen turned the match in the second half.

Totti took a free kick from the right in the 26th minute and fired a hard, low shot into the Leverkusen area. The ball struck the heel of Leverkusen striker Dimitar Berbatov and looped over his goalkeeper Joerg Butt to give Roma the lead against the run of play.

Leverkusen equalized three minutes into the second half when defender Roque Junior, making up for a big miss early in the first half, barely touched the ball as he flicked a curling free kick by Robson Ponte.

Jacek Krzynowek fired Leverkusen ahead for good with a sizzling first-time strike in the 59th.

Two minutes later, Christian Panucci got a red card for elbowing Krzynowek in a challenge for a high ball.

With five minutes remaining, Totti struck the crossbar with another free kick from 20 meters (yards).

In the 87th, Daniele De Rossi was the second Italian to be sent off when he viciously tackled Krzynowek from behind.

Deep into injury time, Franca got Leverkusen's insurance goal.

"You can't play better than that," said a satisfied Leverkusen coach Klaus Augenthaler.

"I just hope it wasn't a one-off and that we're going to tail off again after this. Everything seemed to work well. I hope it lasts."


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